Text Version of Powerpoint Presentation: Using Empathy in Counseling

Defining Empathy

"Empathy is the counselor's ability to sense the client's world the way the client does and to convey that understanding." Frank A. Nugent

Defining Empathy

"Empathy is the skill of reflecting back to another person the emotions he or she is expressing so that he or she feels heard and understood." opendoors.Com

Defining Empathy

Empathy involves listening to clients, understanding them . .. ... and communicating this understanding to them so that they might understand themselves more fully and act of their understanding. Eagan (1994)

Defining Empathy

The word "empathy" is actually a poor and misleading translation of the German word "einfuhlung" . the correct translation would be "in feeling" or "feeling into something". Judy Harrow (1996)

Empathy Involves Two Major Skills: Perceiving and Communicating

Carl Rogers on Empathy

"The therapist is sensing the feelings and personal meanings which the client is experiencing in each moment, when he can perceive these from the inside, as they seem to the client, and when he can that understanding to his client, then the third condition has been fulfilled."

Carl Rogers on Empathy

Questions to ask yourself:

Can I step into his private world so completely that I lose all desire to evaluate and judge it?

Can I let myself enter fully the world of the client's feelings an personal meanings and see these as he does?

Can I enter it so sensitively that I can move about it freely, without trampling on meanings that are precious to the client?

Can I extend this understanding without limit?

Can I sense it so accurately that I can catch not only the meanings of the client's experience which are obvious to him, but those meanings which are only implicit, which he sees only dimly or as confusion?

Empathic Listening Techniques

Encouragers

These are "continuers". They can be verbal, non-verbal, or a mixture. They communicate to the client: "I am listening", "I want to listen", and "I want to understand more about your experience"

Encouragers

Non-verbal "encourager" behaviors include nodding your head, leaning forward, making sounds like "umm, ahh, etc. Facial expressions are used like smiles and grimaces.

All of these non-verbal expression convey "I am with you."

Encouragers

Verbally, encouragers give permission, request additional information, and provide direction.

Examples include statements like "Can you tell me more

about that"? Or "I'm curious about ......

Reflections

Reflective listening can be a powerful tool of communication. In reflective listening you simply reflect to the client what you think you heard, making sine to reflect their feelings

Power of Reflective Listening

The power of reflective listening lies in three distinct forces:

As the counselor processes what the client is saying through the counselor's own experience and reflects it to the client in the counselor's own words, it lets the client know that the counselor has not only heard the client but has understood what has been said.

Power of Reflective Listening

The power of reflective listening lies in three distinct forces:

The counselor is telling the client what he is saying in an accurate way, it is clear the counselor has been listening and not distorting what the client has told the counselor.

Power of Reflective Listening

The power of reflective listening lies in three distinct forces:

As the counselor reflects to the client what the counselor's understanding is, the client has an opportunity to hear him or herself in a new way.

Empathic Comments

The empathic comment is the message the counselor sends to the client that they have been heard and understood.

Empathic Comments

Rogers wrote: "To be with another in this way (empathetic) means that for the time being you lay aside the views and values you hold for yourself in order to enter another's world without prejudice. In some ways it means you lay aside your self'.

Empathic Comments

Empathic comments include using a running commentary while the client is talking, this would include encouragers and reflective listening. Another approach is to wait until the client finishes speaking and then summarize with reflective statements.

Why Do We Use Empathic Listening?

To show an interest in the client

To encourage the client to gain a better understanding of himself

To support the client in his attempts to resolve conflict

Why Do We Use Empathic Listening?

It is therapeutic in and of itself

It leads to an increase in client satisfaction

To discover the client's needs and concerns

Why Do We Use Empathic Listening?

In my opinion, the most important reason we use empathic listening is because it maintains the client as the primary problem solver.

Barriers to Empathic Listening

Cultural differences

Gender

Seeing the client as an object

Not understanding your role as a counselor

Barriers to Empathic Listening

Your inner-world (inscape)

Your preconceived ideas and beliefs

You may be uncomfortable in the presence of the client's strong emotions---grief, anger or pain